Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reading Update 10-28-10

Last night I finished reading the 5th book of Wheel of Time, The Fires of Heaven, a few days inside of the month which is very exciting. I'm taking a brief break from Wheel of Time to read the copy of 1984 by George Orwell that Josh lent us, I was actually surprised that Becky decided to read it several months ago and really enjoyed it. I guess it's a classic for good reason. Last night after finishing Fires of Heaven I decided to start right away on 1984 and even just getting a handful of pages into it I was immediately drawn in. It's a relatively short book, at about 260 pages, and I'm already 10% through it today so I should be able to finish it within a week or so and then move on to the 6th Wheel of Time book.

It has been decently warm for the end of October the last few days, but it looks like tomorrow and the weekend will cool off a bit for the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear and then our Halloween party. Considering how F'ing hot (literally) my costume is going to be I'll be happy for some cooler weather.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Being Sick Sucks

I've been sick with a minor cold for a little over a week now, and I'm really hoping it clears up early this week. On Thursday we're going to the dentist which is something I'd rather not do while already feeling like crap, and then this Saturday we're planning on going to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in DC (because we're close and figure, why not?) then our bitchin' Halloween party on Saturday night! I've considered posting small spoiler/teaser pictures of my costume online, but I figure people would be able to guess it a bit too easily even from those so I'm just going to wait until the weekend.

Due to being sick my reading slacked a bit last week, okay that's only partially the reason, the other is that I finally downloaded Angry Birds onto my iPhone and it is every bit as fun as people say it is. It gets a little bit more boring after you play through quite a bit of it, but even then it's still more fun than most mobile games. That said, even though my reading schedule was slack last week, I'm still currently 78% through Fires of Heaven and pretty well on track to finishing the book by the end of the month. This also puts me at 38% through the whole series, but again that number will drop significantly when the next book comes out in early November.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Numbers Game for Wheel of Time

It's basically a theme here for me to talk about obscure and practically (spell checked to piratically at first, awesome) meaningless math and numbers, but here I go again. I'm not sure why I do it, but inevitably if I'm looking at a spreadsheet or doing something progressive I begin to break it up and analyze it probably too much.

When I set my goal to read all of Harry Potter within a few months, I set up an excel spreadsheet that listed each book, the page counts for them, and let me input my progress and see % completion for each book as I went as well as the entire series. With 7 books most of which were roughly 700 words, this was a daunting task for me at first but actually went very quickly. I finished a solid 2 months early, which is better than I ever expected to do! After that, Becky challenged me (again, it's always her fault) to do the same with Wheel of Time so that I would be set to read the final book by the time it comes out in late 2011. The pace that needs to be set for that to happen is roughly one Wheel of Time book a month, and so I created a spreadsheet and have even gone one step further and I've begun tracking my progress by date every few days in the same spreadsheet.

The result of this tracking is that I am finishing roughly 1% of the entire series (counting only the 12 books that have been released so far) in about 3 days. I'm currently 42% of the way through the 5th book, and at the moment it syncs up nicely that I'm reading 10% of the book in 3 days that is the same as 1% of the whole series. Right now, including the four books I've finished previously, I am 35% of the way through the entire Wheel of Time series (released to date). When the newest book is released in a week or two that number will be skewed somewhat by the addition of ~700-800 new pages, but that's not a huge deal when looking at the whole. To be more precise if the new book is exactly 800 pages that will only set my series completion back by 2.5% but it will make my overall progression go a bit slower. If I assume that after that I will be completing 1% of the series every 4 days, I'll still be finishing up in roughly 260 days which is well before the 1 year mark.

I'm very happy with this information, because it means I should easily be able to throw in a book or two in the next year that isn't from Wheel of Time and still reach my goal pretty easily. Perhaps I just use numbers and math to make myself feel better?

Monday, October 11, 2010

October is Beard Time

Generally before winter I grow out my facial hair, this year I grew a goatee around September but now I'm growing it into full beard mode because I think it will go better with my Halloween costume (which is going to be totally awesome). It's not a stretch to think that most guys, especially when they're older, are pretty strict when it comes to their facial hair. I know if my father-in-law were to shave his mustache it would be a pretty drastic change for him and everyone that knows him. Last week I was musing if this is a pretty universal thing, is uniform facial hair something that a large majority of guys do or is it just something older guys do?

As I said, I usually grow mine out in the fall/winter for no particular reason, but it kind of makes sense for the colder weather and really I just think it's fun to change things up. I grew my hair out in early college and then again over the last two years, and getting that cut was a pretty big (and seemingly extreme) change for me but I really don't think I'll ever get to that point with facial hair. Sooner or later I get sick of it and shave, and eventually I get bored with shaving it all off and grow it out. Any insight into other observations or stats about this I would be very interested in seeing, so if you have them please share!

I can't believe it's October already, and I really can't believe how much I've been reading just in the second half of this year. I'm now 32% of the way through Fires of Heaven, still on track to finish the book by the end of October and then I'll be reading through 1984 pretty quickly hopefully and onto the rest of the Wheel of Time books. Previous to now I was splitting each book with at least one or two other books between them, and I think this was part of the reason I was going through them so slowly. Taken over time the Wheel of Times books are heavy and cI would even describe a fair amount of what they cover as relatively boring, but when you're reading them and going through it the story is enthralling and I think I need to ride that wave to get through all of the books in anywhere close to my lifetime.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Another Deathly Reading Schedule

Well, the Harry Potter reading schedule worked out so well that Becky suggested I do the same for the Wheel of Time series, though both of us freely admit this one is a lot more daunting. With the largest HP book being just under 200,000 words, and the average WoT book having roughly 2x that many words in it, but we're also setting a reasonable schedule so it should work fine.

The goal is to finish about 1 Wheel of Time book each month, so that by the end of next year when the final book is released I'll be able to read it when it comes out. I am 13% through Fires of Heaven at the moment, the 5th book, so I have 9 books and 1 short prequel to read before November of next year. That gives me a buffer of at least 2 months, which is nice, and so far I'm keeping pretty well on pace with my reading through book 5. I'm hoping to finish them even faster so I can mix in some other reading and get to other book series I'm planning on reading.

It also appears that 6 posts/month is the casual and natural pace for my personal blogging. That doesn't really mean much, but if there's one thing I enjoy it's seemingly pointless numbers analysis!

Critical Hits has existed for over 5 years now, which is kind of amazing and an enjoyable milestone for us to reach. Dave put together a great post for it, which you can find here: and it appears once again our friend Melinda from They're Using Tools did a cool graphic for our celebration which you can see on the post. I'm insanely happy that I've been a part of Critical Hits since the very beginning, and sometimes really have trouble believing how things have developed for CH overall and also for me - especially when I look back at my earliest writings on the website. Back then, in late 2005, I was fairly fresh out of college and just finding my legs in the professional working world. I began using CH as a semi-public outlet for my wildest and craziest musings and rants, or as Becky put it the blog was my much-needed "crazy vent". These days I'm not sure where or if I vent my crazy, I may have changed enough in the last 5 years that I don't need to vent it as much or it simply seeps out of me in short, controlled bursts.

Yea, that was an obscure Aliens reference. There's some of the crazy!